As Sure as the Sunrise

Monday, August 07, 2017

lake seloton mindanao

Fog swirled and slithered across the silvery waters of the lake. We were in the early stages of a Sunday morning, right before dawn, when everything took on muted shades of gray.

After our foray into North Cotabato and a stopover in Maguindanao, the currents of our whim had swept Dennis and I to the town of Lake Sebu. In Sunrise Resort, here in South Cotabato, with Lake Seloton at arm's length, we'd spent the night. And now, standing on the banks of one of the T'boli's sacred places, we waited for sunrise.

To pass the time, I mentally went over an essay I’d recently read, about what makes a perfect traveler. The perfect traveler, it said, is one that's practical, but also capable of giving himself over to wonder. He understands that sometimes, you have to abandon control. Let things unfold, because somehow, someway, in the hodgepodge of Creation, things find a way to come together and make things work.

Thinking about that made me realize how coming to Mindanao with no plans sounded like a mistake, a lapse in judgment. It was like crossing a bridge without making sure it would hold up. Up until that moment, I hadn't  been aware of the dangers. Or maybe I’d been, but the thrill of the unknown was stronger. Yet the dangers were real. And I must admit, we were reckless. But if there's one thing I've learned from traveling, it's trust. Trust in circumstances, in places, in yourself. Trust that you'd come back alive.

I had trust, for instance, in the promise of a beautiful Sunday. And as colors erupted from dawn breaking, I knew it to be true. The sun was finally aloft, rising from behind the spine of mountains. It bathed Lake Seloton in warm, golden light, shimmering as fishermen aboard their owung glided across its surface. Blooming with sharps colors were the clumps of lotuses. The scene was full of hope and, watching from the sidelines, I was sure of good things coming our way. 

The bridge did hold up in the end. It took us farther than we'd thought it could, to places and to people so full of wonder that they made everything absolutely worth it.

Indeed, the grandest feats, the greatest experiences, arise from spurs of the moment, from flights of fancy and letting loose. After all, what is life without a little bit of whimsy?

Storytime is a series of  stories about my most memorable travel experiences. Read more here.

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